Don’t Let Your Biz Dev Efforts Shelter in Place
Corona-related uncertainty has left us craving connections with others, making this a great time to reach out to people you have not spoken to in a while.
If reaching out to contacts who have gone cold sounds uncomfortable, you are not alone. Here’s the good news – it makes your competitors uncomfortable too. How can you get over this hurdle? By remembering that your old connections would value a call or email checking in on them and their sanity – just as you appreciate those who check in on you.
Before the virus, it may have felt awkward reaching out to those you haven’t spoken with in a while. Today, your former contacts will be grateful to talk with someone outside their current shelter-in-place circle. These ties often serve as the best access point to meeting new people and leads.
So, reach out to your college roommate or colleague from two jobs ago. Schedule a Zoom coffee or happy hour or even a phone walk with them, and keep these three things in mind:
There is no expectation that you will secure business immediately upon reconnecting. The pandemic serves as a natural conversation starter. Go into each conversation as a friend and find out how they, their families and their companies are dealing with the crisis. This shared experience is your moment to cement long-term relationships with old connections.
Many companies are facing layoffs, and your contacts will be trying to prove their value, perhaps while also at home with children, balancing work and e-learning. Focus on how you can be helpful on that given day, whether it be sharing an interesting article you read, making a Netflix recommendation or commiserating over homeschooling.
Keep the Momentum Going
Business development is not a “one and done” phenomenon. Continue to check in with your network. If you both enjoyed your virtual coffee, upgrade to a virtual happy hour in a few weeks. As the world goes back to normal and conversations turn business, you’ll be able to convert this to a new file more easily if you have been in regular touch.
These uncertain times have made us place a higher value on our existing relationships, no matter how long they have been dormant. Use your work-from-home time to strengthen these ties for your business development efforts – and your sanity.